Dating : What I would say to my father?

h2>Dating : What I would say to my father?

Kyron Rashād

What I would say to my father?

If I had it my way, I would’ve wrote this years ago & delivered it by hand to you. I no longer think the face-to-face meeting is necessary. Hell, I no longer believe that this letter is necessary, but here I am forging my path-correction to you. I’m aware that one day, one of us is going to be hanging onto our last breaths as if each moment between said breaths was another chance, or another “go” at it, if you will. Given the climate — or state of the country — being as I am still relatively young & undoubtedly black, those breaths could at any time forge a path-correction of their own and with a swiftness that hate can only wield, take me away along with any opportunity to decide to reconcile in the future. So here, I do it now. You may pose some questions and I will get to them in time I promise but it’s important to me that you listen & hopefully allow my moment to exist, let it sit here for awhile & eventually (I say with every bit of hope & despair I’ve grown up with), I hope it resonates with you.

I wasn’t pit against you.

I was a kid and I was confused.

I’m not sure if you knew how much you meant to me but from toddler to early teens you were my big bad. My hero. You were my Michael Jordan.

I thought the world of you.

In my earliest of memories you were the hand that not only struck down with lighting & power, but one half of the hands that healed me. Your big hands worked hard, but they also held me gently and rubbed my back when I was sick.

I still feel your paternal care. Was this how you loved?

I can still smell the beer on your breath when you kissed me goodnight. Honestly, is this why it’s my personal beverage of choice?

…because it brings me closer to you? Was that love?

When I was 15 I beat you in 1-on-1 for the first time. I told mom of this win. You lied. As trivial as this may be to ask, why did you lie?

I wanted your acknowledgement of how hard I worked. You didn’t bother.

I have my own ideas but as I have just celebrated my 28th birthday I have come to the unsettling realization that my body feels like it’s falling apart, & after suffering a couple knee injuries I am no longer what I was.

Was it hard to grapple with the fact that you are indeed aging? With the obvious generational gap between us, if this was at all anything you felt, I can finally relate.

I imagine it was hard for you. Seeing as you were gone a lot, doing god-knows-what. I developed a stronger relationship with my mother. With every ailment she had, and your time away, I saw how incredibly beautiful it was to be sensitive and vulnerable with the people you love. I saw how difficult it was to raise two teenage boys on one income. I saw that even when the child support came, that what she needed was time. Time to breathe and time to heal.

I feel like you guys separated when I was in middle school, then tried to work it out or something, forgive me I only know what I heard through the walls of the different homes we lived in if I heard anything at all.

It was difficult to find a peace throughout it. I wanted to spend time with you, yet when you came home you acted like you wanted nothing to do with us. I speak of the time we lived in East Moline by Glenview Middle School. This would essentially be at the climax of the divorce and our story but only the introduction to my deep rooted frustrations with you.

Did you give up? I was so fed up because you would come home and just power trip. You wanted the respect of a father but you stopped actually trying to be my father?

So I stood up to you. I gave you the same tough love you gave me my whole life, right? Here I am, no longer tolerating your shit because I noticed that you stopped caring about me. I’m taking your lead right here. Why? How?

I don’t mean to throw some many things at you but truthfully, I don’t care.

This is all in words so you can take as much time as you need to collect those memories and reciprocate your thoughts and feelings if you even decide to do so.

I hate to bring up how many shoes you had. Or jerseys, clothes, etc.. More importantly, I hate to bring up how selfish you were. I’ve always thought that was weird. I always thought the idea was to make sure my kids have the things they want despite me growing up without that.

Nah, you had what? 26 pairs of Jordan’s, some of them never worn & we as teenagers never owned a pair. Why is that CJ?

Is it because you wouldn’t feel right giving it to us? I asked you for a dollar & this was your answer. You robbed me of harmless childhood fantasies.What are the lessons you were trying to teach us? Was it to work for the things you wanted? I’m truly curious. Maybe you had a non-linear approach to your parental strategy.

Did you consider how the divorce was affecting your kids? Probably not, right? It was our mother’s decision to leave. It didn’t occur to you that her decision was a direct reflection of how you treated her.

More importantly, did you think of how your response to the divorce was affecting your kids? Did you consider that I no longer cared about school? My brother and I went separate ways. He found support & family in other kids that had nothing to live for. I blame myself. I was learning not to care about anything. I was following in your footsteps.

That day that I came home from school & you confronted me about wearing a shirt of yours. It has to go down in history as one of the most cowardice things to happen. Your shirt. Really? That was worth an ass whooping? At 16, I knew how unnecessary & extra you were were about the whole situation. I wasn’t willing to be treated like a child anymore because you were unwilling to adapt & grow & learn how to use your words to do anything other than discipline your kids. If we didn’t fear you how else would you do it? But I blame you, not for how you were raised, but for not trying to be a better man than the ones that taught you. You were dealt an unfair hand, maybe? You carried this family on those broad shoulders of yours through hell & high water, but didn’t care to to put us down when you became the hell. You were just a product of your environment, I know, but you had a responsibility to put the fire out. You opted to let us burn because your burns never healed. You are responsible for causing my injuries; I am responsible for the journey it will take to heal them. You chose to continue the cycle. Not break it & I blame you for that.

Every scar, every scratch, and both eyes have since healed. What I haven’t recovered from is how much hate was in your eyes as you struck me, over and over again. I’m not sure how it escalated so quickly, but I knew you wanted to kill me. I knew you weren’t my father. You were the man left behind after my father left.

What I haven’t recovered from is the audacity you had. Do you remember? I’m not sure how this possible but I remember not seeing you after that day for at least 6 months. I couldn’t tell you whether or not I’ve suppressed some memories, or what. On my birthday the following year, you sent me a card. Inside the card you wrote that you forgive me. THAT YOU FORGIVE ME. For standing up to you? For being able to take a punch from a grown man twice my size? Here again, you proved to me that you were nothing but a punkish bully who held onto every bit of power he could. You lost your power over me, Charles. You lost your control.

For my final 3 years of high school. You abandoned us. I don’t know exactly what you did during these years, but I do know you set zero intentions on fixing it. Then again, if you were a fixer, there would still be a marriage wouldn’t there? We weren’t the priority then. We aren’t now.

If you’ve managed to make it this far in my letter to you. I am sorry for if you feel some type of way. If I’ve hurt you during this. I don’t wish to cause you pain or grief anymore. I care about you tremendously. I know this because I still think about you. I think about how your health is doing now that you’ve gotten older. I think about whether or not you’re still playing basketball. I imagine I inherited my stubbornness & inability to quit sports from you. This is my expression: An attempt to be deeply honest with myself and you. I cannot hold back as it would be a travesty if I left anything out. I will not squander this opportunity to find forgiveness, or find my piece of you, and make peace with it so I can finally move on.

I’ve carried this burden of ours for 12 years now. I struggled with the dynamic of our relationship. I believed that if someone that made me didn’t want to be around me, why would anyone else? My mother struggled to put food on the table, keep the lights/water on. I remember calling you one day because I was watching my mother breakdown crying on the floor of our home. For the life of me I can’t remember why. I was obsessed with how. How any man could leave his kids? How you didn’t give a single fuck. Out of spite? Because my mother decided that she had had enough of your control or manipulation. Good for her. We all have.

You broke my trust, dad. You failed me as a father and I paid for it for the next 12 years. I took it into every relationship and because of it pushed people hard enough that they cheated on me, over & over again. I hate myself because of it all. Most of all because I continued to give the power to break me & permission to do so to people who were willing to abuse that power.

From 24–26 I built a wall so thick that no one who valued themselves was willing to get close to me. Luckily, I had mentors that took the place of you. They valued me, they said I mattered, told my hard-headed ass that there was no reason in hell I couldn’t do the things that I wanted to do. They fathered me because I was lost, trying to find my way. The thing is: I saw you in everybody that gave me that chance.

Now that I’m in the best possible position. My career is taking off and I’m in an amazing relationship. This is the time where I’ve decided that I can no longer take you with me. I don’t care to. This woman, for her to be here with me and remind me that I deserve her love. She helped me create a safe space for healing, reflection and what ultimately led to this, for creation. I would erase the distance between here and the moon to make sure her nights never got too dark. I will fight for this, every single day. I used to want my kids to meet you. Honestly, I hope they still do. I wanted her to meet you. I believe this may still be true as well but if they never do, I merely hope to let them know that the reason I am a good father, good husband, an honest man. Is because I learned pretty early of the man I never wanted to be.

I want you to know that I’m not asking you for an apology. I’m not asking you to call, write back, or show up to fix everything. That is no longer your job. That it isn’t anything I believe you’re capable of. (You’re welcome to prove me wrong) I hope you take responsibility for your actions. I hope you can acknowledge you had visitation rights but chose not to make visits.

Most importantly, if those last breaths that I spoke of reach me before you or you before me. I want you to know that I still love you, and I hope you find your peace with whatever piece of me that you still have.

I’m here if you decide that I’m worth the sacrifice of your ego.

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